Tag Archives: free weights
Ask yourself - Is my current approach the best it can be? Am I getting results at a fast enough rate? Am I getting results – period!
There is a lot of confusion and discussion about the benefits of machines (eg. Seated chest press, leg press etc.) versus using free weights (eg. Dumbbells, barbells etc.). Over the years in which we have been operating as a personal training company, I have learned a lot about the advantages of each format of exercise.
Particularly if you are new to weight training exercise, I would strongly advise that you begin with machine based exercises. Why? Well, the advantage that machines possess over free weights is that you don't have to worry about balancing the weights - they are already following a particular line of motion. You primarily have to worry about getting the weight from A to B (whilst of course focusing on some key area's of technique). This allows your body and mind to become accustomed to this new and unfamiliar motion.
Once you have established some degree of familiarity with exercise motions, it is then greatly advantageous (for certain exercises) that you move onto free weighted exercises. Here are a few reasons why, speaking generally:
- Free weights are more versatile, whereby you can perform more intricate movements to specifically target muscles for highly specific purposes
- Free weights recruit more muscle tissue due to an increased degree of balance and control
- With free weights, you can mimic "day-to-day" movements and thus enhance your general strength, core control and co-ordination (also known as functional training)
But that's not to say that machines are useless after the first few months of training - far from it! Machines have other advantages later in training:
- Variety in your workout, which is great for intensity!
- Enabling you to perform particular movements that are difficult to reproduce with free weights (with or without a relatively high level of resistance) - eg. Calf raise, leg press, lat pulldown etc.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong. But, there is a more and less effective approach to your resistance exercise. What is most important is that you have a plan that is suitable for your body, level of exercise experience and goals. Sometimes this may include a combination of free weights and machines, or alternatively, sometimes your weight training may be more reliant on one or the other. If you are seeking some specific advice, please don't hesitate to consider our online personal training services.